In praise of the English apple Editorial

25th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Could an apple that has travelled halfway around the world have the aromatic flavour of, say, a Ribston Pippin?Would you consider sinking your teeth into a Monstrous Leadington? No, of course not, but you would certainly enjoy a bite from a Sussex Duck's Bill. You would quite rightly decline an unappetisingly named Sturmer Pippin but be delighted by the crisp sweetness of a Laxton's Fortune. There are in excess of 2,300 English apple varieties in the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale, from the earliest Pearmain to the newest Scrumptious, and while you won't find many of these in the supermarket you will find them in farm shops and at farmers' markets. A pile of honey-skinned Russets in a fruit bowl is so much more joyful to the eye and the palate than the ubiquitous waxy-green Granny Smith an Australian import. What other apple bakes half as well as a Bramley or a Blenheim Orange: nut-sweet and fluffy under a golden skin? After an imported apple has travelled halfway around the world, does it still have the aromatic flavour of, say, a Ribston Pippin? And for sheer prettiness, it would be hard to beat the pink-fleshed Sops-in-Wine. Late October is the picking time for our most flavoursome varieties the good "keepers" that will see you through most of the winter if stored correctly. The apple is woven through our history and heritage in so many ways: the Apple Wassail still takes place on twelfth night in apple orchards all over the country, "blessing" the trees to ensure a good harvest. Associated with health, wealth and happiness, this might be a good time to start taking our apples a little more seriously.Food & drinkBritish identity and © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions More Feeds

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